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The Other Effect of The Shutdown on Information Security

Crystal Project ShutdownLast week I spent a little time talking to folks about the effect the shutdown has on information security. Here are the links:

DefenseOne, CNN, Tripwire.

There are lots of examples of how a lack of personnel may affect the ability of government agencies to respond, and how it may be a good time to attack the US government electronically because there are fewer folks paying attention, and how compromises that are successful now may not be detected for a long time. I described in there the idea of an immediate and a ripple effect of the shutdown on information security.

Here, I want to touch on a side of this that’s not as obvious: the effect of the shutdown on the information security industry.

Consider the Federal Government’s budget for Information Security. In fact, it’s hard to do because of how it’s distributed (lots of agencies, various means of allocating budget). Still, there are some facts. The 2014 budget includes:

  • $1B for DHS “for the protection of federal computers and networks against malicious cyber activity”
  • $93M at the Justice Dept for “cybersecurity enhancements”
  • $500 million be allotted to promote innovation and economic growth to fund research and development advances in cybersecurity

The fact is that there is more than a billion dollars in the Federal budget related to information security. You can imagine that with the Government shutdown, quite a lot of those funds are not being spent. At the end of that spending chain are not only the direct employees of the Federal Government, but also the contractors, system integrators and vendors who supply them. This, too, has an immediate and a ripple effect. Some people will immediately stop getting paid and stop delivering services. The post-shutdown cleanup will have the effect of delayed projects, which in turn will push revenue out. For some, that might be beneficial. For others, it may very well do material damage to their business.

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